Friday, February 26, 2010

Found Art Friday 6

Dear Blogorific folk
who actually came back for a visit or welcomed a new thought. Today on Found Art Friday we have 1) Our thirteen year old really knows how to pluck something out of a fast moving space - such as a bike race. 2) Our eleven year old knows how to notice that his lollypop (saved up from valentines day) is smiling at him and to do something about it.

After that, things got decidedly vegetal and organic:

3) Thanks to Nom de Plume and her healthy eating clan

4) Who recognizes this retired public official(his real glasses and lips)? soon to be starring in a Tiny Movie here at HomelandInspiration studios

5) Thanks Aunt Madge - breathe deep! And check out her link, Mamasbelly column right.

6) Portrait of a new Local journalist, Lettuce Pray: specializing in images and juxtapositions specific to the "Pastures of Heaven", Salinas, California region.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Dear Blogofolk of wonder

In 2007, Art Ranger made her first public appearance as a guest at the local tower of learning. No red carpet, but a very choice vacant lot on a former military base. She and the students performed some serious games and warchest meditations. Someone was appointed to pass out bandaids, meditate, stack things, etc. We did our jobs and Ranger got to wear an official temporary badge.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Found Art Friday 5

Received from City folk:

Thanks for two pics from Richard P in Los Angeles

And two more images from Art Ranger's friend in Oakland: utility box initally decorated non-permissionally by a neighbor who was almost jailed until the authorities decided that a 65 year-old man probably wasn't going to go around doing indiscriminate graffiti (CONTEXT)
And this sidewalk siting reminds us to tell you about a fascinating link:

And from our country folk:

"poor little guy was probably just trying to swallow a fly" from Bonnie Hotz

And lastly, who do you call when a holy virgin mary is found displayed on your lawn?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

M is for Maintenance

Today at The Department of Homeland Inspiration, Art Ranger pays tribute to another little known American Artist named Mierle Laderman Ukeles. We were well into our third decade before ever hearing of her work and still don't know how to pronounce her name.  In 1969, she wrote a very gutsy essay: “Manifesto for Maintenance Art”. It was not only a manifesto, but an art exhibition plan in which she coaxed viewers to look directly at our culture’s waste system, our feelings about labor, about the maintenance and preservation of life and the roles of women in this process. The show included audio-taped interviews with fifty different sorts of worker occupations: librarian, sanitation man, mail man etc... asking them questions such as: What is the relationship between maintenance and freedom?

Here are a few fragments culled from her Manifesto:

Two basic systems:  Development and Maintenance.  The sourball  
   of every revolution:  after the revolution, who’s going  
   to pick up the garbage on Monday morning?

Maintenance is a drag; it takes all the fucking time (lit.)
  The mind boggles and chafes at the boredom.
  The culture confers lousy status on maintenance jobs = 
  minimum wages, housewives = no pay.

Clean your desk, wash the dishes, clean the floor,
  wash your clothes, wash your toes, change the baby’s
  diaper, finish the report, correct the typos, mend the 
  fence, keep the customer happy, throw out the stinking 
  garbage, watch out don’t put things in your nose, what 
  shall I wear, I have no sox, pay your bills, don’t 
  litter, save string, wash your hair, change the sheets,
  go to the store, I’m out of ...

I am an artist.  I am a woman.  I am a wife.
           I am a mother.  (Random order).

  I do a hell of a lot of washing, cleaning, cooking,
          renewing, supporting, preserving, etc.  Also,
          (up to now separately I “do” Art.
  Now, I will simply do these maintenance everyday things,
       and flush them up to consciousness, exhibit them, as Art.
       I will live in the museum and I customarily do at home


At this very instant in twenty-first century time, her version of art activism is still necessary and contemporary. Considering our pace of growth in consumerish behavior since 1969, and the context of our more recent economic meltdowns, her ideals and processes seem even more relevant than usual.  
Part Three:  Earth Maintenance
 Everyday, containers of the following kinds of refuse will be delivered
      to the Museum:
       -the contents of one sanitation truck;
       -a container of polluted air;
       -a container of polluted Hudson River;
       -a container of ravaged land.
  Once at the exhibition, each container will be serviced:
 purified, de-polluted, rehabilitated, recycled, and conserved
 by various technical (and / or pseudo-technical) procedures either
      by myself or scientists. 

In 1976, Ukeles also named herself Artist-In-Residence at The New York Department of Sanitation, Fresh Kills Landfill where she has undergone a number of long term projects. 

 Art Ranger was drawn back to Ukeles work when husband mentioned the word TAXES. Yes indeed, this yearly maintenance tally. This T word inspires a number of procrastination-related side projects, such as cleaning and re-installing the hummingbird feeder. Golly we need an oil change, don’t we. And knitting a hat that looks 80% good, and of course, finishing the dang chicken coop. Or re-researching artists such as Mierle. Taxes require that we think about money in this detailed way, using the word itemize or unit price. Kind of like getting bloodwork done to see your nutritional balance. Or re-living your entire year by spreading receipts across your bedroom and labeling them with posit-notes. (It also leads us to think about our tax dollar usages and the daunting fact that we still have the largest appetite for military activity in the history of the earth).

Not only that, but when discussing my admiration of this artist’s work with my mother, she said, "oh sure, I know her mother" (who has since passed). Ukeles was also born in Denver, Colorado which probably makes us even more partial to her work. But really it's that "flush them up to consciousness" line that gets us going.

If this art interests you, please read a more detailed and proper biography while learning about an excellent link:
Exhibition History and great images:
And find her complete “Manifesto for Maintenance Art” there too.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Found Art Friday 4

Greetings from the Department. This week Bloggerlady read about link farms and how you could enable spider bots and crawlers. Ironically, Found Art gathered this week speaks its own situational language:

1) Upas St. Bridge, found by Matt Kilman
2) Anony Mouse goes for a walk
3) Sign outside Art Ranger's doctor's office reminds her how lucky they are to have health insurance
4) Aunt Madge (of the Stewart Clan) gets ready for the relatives

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chicken Artitexture II

Ok dear blogger, and all you blogophiles and barely bloggy ones .. in order for Art Ranger to be able "to blog" and computerize all this, she must intermittently get out of chair and go build something with her hands!
Why chickens are my best clients ever, Part II
Coop Expansion = Assignment for Department of Homeland Inspiration environs:

1) In order to build housing for them this time, you have to actually measure your chickens with tape measure and get chickenprints on the table your mother gave you. Chickens cause you to go back to your design essence "scratch" and get direct with the function junction. Like how tall are they? How big should the doorway be? How not to be eaten by Rocky Racoon.
2) Chickens remind you to use what you have: do not (for us) go to the hardware store again! Find a way to use what's already in the garage in the little clear drawers that came with the house. In fact, Incorporate Waste! into the design whenever possible. Soon anyway there will be waste stuck to the design pretty much everywhere. Premier moment of the "Peace meal" four week long steady-as-she-goes project, was to be able to make a doorknob out of the "waste" from the hole saw for perch mount and to make the handle of the egg door out of cut-out shapes from nestbox.
3) And because you are working for ones as honest as chickens, who bathe in dirt, you can comfortably say "it's not quite perfect over here" and still feel fine about it. And because you're not worrying too much about whether it was perfect, it can actually be more perfect than a lot of other things you in your life have tried to make.
4) And lastly, with Chickens as a Sustainability Study, the Art Ranger is, after nine months as chicken care-giver, really beginning to be impressed with the chickens sense of rhythm. How they move their heads and legs in 6/8 time as they scratch the earth. How they decide when and when not to lay an egg. How they work with the sun and moon.

Monday, February 8, 2010

M is for Memory Stick

a football caused flashback
The girl had to accept early on that she was going to need another job in order to survive and still be called an Artist. She tried several versions of get-the-job-done-early and leave the rest of your day to do art. The first one was delivering newspapers at the Flying Saucer Trailer park along the Platte River. She felt very grown up drinking coffee with the newspaper Classifieds and a ballpoint pen and she knew it was going to be a perfect job since it started at 5 am. With the dwellings so nice and close together, it would almost seem like you could do it on a bicycle (like Henry and Ribsy) in the 1950's and be home in time for a late breakfast, then onward with the day's art.

She didn't imagine how it would be pitch dark at 5 am. when the girl, the trainee, was to pick up the man giving away the job, and that the man, who lived in the apartment complex where every one gets a balcony with wooden rungs, would smell like thirteen cigarettes already when he got in her car. It was about three miles to the aforementioned trailer park, three miles of silence and rattled breathing and spilled black coffee mixed with cigarette on hard cold beige Pontiac stationwagon vinyl. They turn off the main road down by the always lit gas station with bright yellow pumps to the entrance of the Flying Saucer Tailor Park, fenced in by huge Platte River cottonwood trees. The blue and white light box with an actual flying saucer that she admired from afar for all those years is now right there close lit up perfectly with pink accents and some scratches into the dawnsearlylight. In anticipation of being able to throw things out her window, the girl is already cranking it way down now to stop smelling the big new big stranger filling the car.

After the first two newspaper tosses, the man demonstrated - Throwing things! - how in her enthusiasm for employment, did she overlook this? Her complete lack of training or comfort or confidence or prowess in this area seared into her frontal lobe. With a neat little spin, his newspapers would launch upward, then, like a self-posessed seedpod, accurately plunk onto the miniature hand-built front porch or even right on the doormat! Not only had the man memorized the little streets and forgotten the numbers long ago, but he must've played football in his youth, in fact I was sure of it. He even was wearing one of those padded navy blue coachy jackets. Although his entire character seemed colorless and tired, tired of everything except tossing things out car windows with ease and precision. Suddenly, it was all so strange and forced and foreign, what she'd set herself up for. She could still be in a warm bed right now. But instead there was this overarching quest to pursue Art which made her have to think up a scheme like this and now be all cold and smelly and embarassed at the crack of dawn, in a miniature neighborhood, with some weird guy and a stack of Rocky Mountain News rubbing graphite all over her lap.

Yup, It was her turn to try it now, the demo was over: the girl got that kind of a pre-stage sweat jitter blush feeling, nervous in the same way as when it was the wrong gym activity. And she was simultaneously going to have to be reading addresses off a list while driving, and rubberbandening the stacks into cylinders. This simple straightforward job that was going to be over before most people got out of bed was, well, overwhelming for a freshly college-aged girl. We'll use some cartoonish sound effects to try to replicate the girl throwing the newspapers in the tight-knit neighborhood where people's entryways were pridefully flanked with cute potted petunia planters: Bafff, KaBoom, Phling, Boing, Crash, Bash, skiiiddd! She was decapitating geraniums, or scooting across the pavement and scuffing headlines off. She was landing briefly on a banister and then falling into dense juniper shrubs. She was landing perfectly between two homes, she was bending red mailbox flags, and worst of all, waking up dogs, dogs, dogs.

Naturally, the man did not hesitate to cuss and guffaw at his trainee, only making matters worse. Her arm with the relative un-use of this skill and the accompanying embarassment was already starting to feel twisted and achey and less and less functional from the heaving effort. Even after all that swimming, the papers felt more like dense firewood or bricks, and the rubberbands weren't cooperating either; they wanted to crawl off or twist hair off her arms, or be flung into dark corners of the car interior.

The girl claimed that it would be easier if the man weren't watching. “Wait’l Sundy, Honey” said the man. The girl doesn't remember making it 'til Sunday.

An early lesson in the Art of the Fact that there is no such thing as unskilled labor.

vs. ART RANGER's arm

Friday, February 5, 2010

Found Art Friday

This is what we're talking about folks! Being out there and attending to the moment. Thank you to Jim Lindenthal, father in law of the Art Ranger, with camera in hand and courage on hand.

And for a different kind of "being there", below is a contribution from childhood friend and member of the art tribe, Maggie Stewart, fondly known as Aunt Madge:
(Since artists know to be concerned with what might be underneath as well as on the surface)

Found Art Fridays will continue each week with a 3 pm showing, should you care to contribute, please email to: by 2:45 pm.
(Eventually I hope SquirrelLady or LittleOnesock from "help forum" will teach us to post directly on the site)

Found Poem, prelude to Found Art Friday post at 3pm

Double sided FORTUNE COOKIES with character translation. Remains on kitchen table after four boys find a whole bag of them and have a snack:

Don’t wait for others to open the right doors for you
To have a fever
If you tempt a squirrel with a nut prepare to be bitten
My brother
Rest not from duty
but find rest in it
Real is all a vision
You have to see for yourself
Be full
Ideas not coupled with action
Never become bigger than the brain cells they occupied
Drastic means are not as necessary as you think
Lucky numbers
Put your mind into planning today
Look into the future
Ideas you believe are absurd ultimately lead to success
What time is it now?
In a gentle way, you can shake the world

Above photo remains from leaving boys home alone for one hour. Involves dog. Future career in nursing?

Monday, February 1, 2010

Why Art Thou?

Hello from the Department of Homeland Inspiration. This week's postings will be Monday and Friday due to a Wednesday Art Ranger roadtrip. We already have one or two humdingers for this Found Art Friday. Feel free yourselves to collide with something marvelous and send it in. Today's essay has been simmering for a few years and is as close to a "manifesto" as Art Ranger has gotten. An earlier version is archived at

I believe that Art is a kind of sustenance, not a luxury or a decoration. I believe in art’s nimble purpose in life and this is how:

I believe that art sends oxygen to the brain the way running up a hill or laughter can.

This might help energize the possibilities, provide insights. Connect the dots. Stir the soul.

Why is this a good and necessary thing for people and cultures of the world?

Why teach art? Why preach it? Why beseech that it be part of our education, our civic and private lives? Art can be as humble as a collection of moments noticed – on purpose - moments possibly made richer by a visual encounter, a certain snag of wonderment and attentiveness. Art is a practice like making bread. A discipline that requires unpacking the meaning of things. Letting the dough sit and rise. Exposing, stretching, and rearranging the necessary bits of soul. Artists must do this stirring job because nobody else will.

The fact that art usually has an afterlife and becomes some object or surface that stands still long enough to study, has made it extremely valuable as a body of core knowledge and skill. To look at the outputs of various moments and peoples in the history of civilization, and to keep on looking and looking at it, can make me dizzy with amazement and admiration. If the time is taken, it is to decompress layers of historical consciousness and overlapping life stories. Whether a Leonardo, or a YouTube entry, art still holds valuable deposits of the time period. Art is only a "masterpiece" by accumulation of appreciation. This may not occur exactly in an Art establishment because it is not just finished objects or framed things. Art is process. The right amount of spice in the soup.

To appreciate Art, is to consider Context, the back stories. Artists can be live sponges, filter feeders that digest context into a discernable object. Art provides, like no other discipline quite can, access to another person’s Point of View - the place where they are coming from, the shoes they fell into. And the receiver must stretch to think outside of self or machine.

(The Gleaners, Jean Millet)

I believe that training in art can be applied to a great variety of activities just by teaching us to look longer and wider and deeper and to acknowledge several ways of looking. This could help you design a bridge or invent a new shoe sole, or enable you to fix the doorknob without going to the hardware store. You may solve a problem by understanding its opposite, by acknowledging positive and negative space.

Art could help you hold the line some day or to see what another person means. They say that people who lead have vision.

To reflect on something slows it down slightly. To acknowledge fully the reflection of light off an apple is to be able to draw it. To draw is to see. And to be able to draw from.

Our human natures crave a combination of routine and unique moments. The desire to see something new makes brain synapses. When striving to create art, people become even more elastic and fantastic, because art might contain a micro-inspiration that can translate into action.

The term cutting edge – is actually sharp, effective. Telling.

I believe that Art is a potent messenger of emotional material often where words fail: the world could use more of that right now and always.

Yet why oh why is it probable and possible for so many humans to do perfectly well without art? And why is it that in America, we love Art after it has already made some place a nicer place, but we don’t often nurture it or make a place for it in our civic life? Well, it can be very inconvenient to be creative in our culture - so mass-produced and media-induced, all cellular and digital-like in caffeinated cubicles are we. But creativity is the last frontier of the brain folks. CREATIVITY. Everything else really is being done by machines, right under your feet!

Art is vital for random human pedestrians and culture seekers alike. It's a form of good nutrition and circulatory system for a community. It helps people to air and freshen their brains and mitigate the tedium of daily living, the long haul. Go on a walk for lunch. Art helps humans acknowledge their environs and emotional truths, thereby encouraging their stewardship.

Why do I continue to bother to make art? And why do I see it as performing a service. Having a mission. Art is the seat of my brain. The place where my eggs hatch. Simply what my being is best suited for. For others, it is a learned love. I see my job as a collector and connector of information, a transmitter from and to the surround. I am an employee of the spirit of focused wonderment.

Skills needed for our species to thrive and survive and perspire over ideas.

After many years in the field, what is at the heart of my art, what really gets the ball rolling, is to be moved by what’s already there - by seeing some odd thing in the world and registering it deeply. The dusty deer trophy at the gas station was wearing sunglasses. Or the silhouettes of twenty three homemade mailboxes all standing together. Both seen in nature and as the result of culture, there are images that blow my socks off with their complete complex beauty. It feels impossible for me to make anything as great as these images and yet these moments still inspire.

Recently I’ve witnessed a collection of revelatory moments during regular life that have provided the clues I need to carry on, and sometimes even make a living from my art.Example: one warm afternoon, I watched my dog resettle herself into a nap and looked down at her stomach where I saw the pattern from my rubber doormat left as an impression in her soft flesh. This flash observation helped solve a fabricating dilemma for a metal sculpture commission that had been dogging me for months. By stamping a pattern into thin slabs of oil clay, I was able to save miles of hand labor and have it look even better.

Art can be activated by the sound of frogs, or noting a tree branch following the contour of a hill. Or art may require engineering and cranes. Books and maps. Whether making or receiving art, there’s a tuning in that can be quietly beneficial.

Therefore, this public artist defines her mission in the department of Homeland Inspiration to further the cause of Art and to seek out and eek out its integration into the everyday lives of others.

Whether, a way of living in the world and paying a certain kind of attention to its passing, or whether you decide to leave some evidence of grappling with your time here - Go ahead - pick up a pencil, a camera, a toothpick? And have some art in your life today!